Deep Decarbonization

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[mk_dropcaps style=”simple-style”]W[/mk_dropcaps]HETHER IT’S CRUDE oil or biofuels, as the DDPP encourages, some sectors of the economy, such as freight and aviation, will rely on liquid fuels whether we like it or not. “We don’t yet know how to drive a long way with just electricity,” says Bataille. Fuel-switching to combustible biofuels, in tandem with carbon storage and electrification, is the primary route for Canada to bring emissions down from 651 megatonnes of CO2 per year in 2010 to fewer than 100 by 2050. But what those biomass fuels will be — feed crops such as switchgrass, for instance, or non-food sources such as algae — is “still an open horse race.”

Sigvaldason says early findings line up with the DDPP regarding biofuels because they address several deep decarbonization requirements at once. Not only do they provide cleaner energy for transport, but they also act like natural air capture technology. He’s especially intrigued by micro-algae production.

Biomass also fascinates climate scientists such as Sigvaldason because 27 per cent of emissions come from agriculture, waste and other non-combustion sources. Methane, one of the most severe pollutants, could be recycled by burning carbon waste on landfills and farms, then reusing it as fuel.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][mk_blockquote style=”line-style” font_family=”none” text_size=”22″ align=”left”]

‘Although the next car you purchase may not be a plug-in hybrid, the one after probably will be.’

[/mk_blockquote][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”0″]A simple shift toward biomass crops and recycling alone won’t clean up agriculture, which globally accounts for two-thirds of water consumption. Water will likely be a precious resource in our dryer future, so farmers will need to turn to on-site conservation technologies. One invention out of Calgary, Livestock Water Recycling, turns manure into clean water and is already used by a handful of major American dairies and hog farms. Such technology will have to be deployed along with stronger policies. “Water’s going to be a very valuable commodity,” says Bataille, “and we’re going to have to govern it that way.”

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[mk_dropcaps style=”simple-style”]I[/mk_dropcaps]NDUSTRY REGULATION may work for water usage, but there’s no guarantee it can force industry sectors to decarbonize, improve energy efficiency and spark the electrification of end-use products. Sigvaldason believes deep decarbonization begins with the end-users themselves — the drivers, the residents, the people — as they respond to cost incentives against fossil fuels. “We can’t ask people to make fundamental lifestyle changes because that’s unrealistic,” he says. For example, California, where an ambitious environmental plan wrongly assumed a sizable portion of energy consumption changes would result from convincing people to change their lifestyles in the absence of cost incentives.

By IDDRI estimates, homes can be electrified in a decade. Coupled with better energy efficiency and insulation, we’re closer to decarbonizing our homes than cars. Although the next personal car you purchase may not be a plug-in hybrid, says Bataille, the one after probably will be.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][mk_button dimension=”three” size=”large” outline_skin=”dark” outline_active_color=”#fff” outline_hover_color=”#333333″ bg_color=”#13bdd2″ text_color=”light” icon=”moon-next” url=”/deep-decarbonization/5/” target=”_self” align=”right” fullwidth=”false” margin_top=”0″ margin_bottom=”15″ animation=”scale-up”]
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